jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “death”

places buried in the past


I did not know her
but I was compelled
to find her final resting place

it was a bright but cold december day
but I kept warm in the car
driving mindlessly past corn fields
mile after mile after mile
stripped clean yet ruggedly barren

the interstate traffic was heavy
and I wondered how many seekers
if any
had set off on a journey
to find her final resting place

google maps told me how to get there
but I only had to read the directions once

and when I got there
it was as if I had been there all along



december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

counting down the days


oh glorious night settle into darkness
and let me tell thee whom I give my life

I belong neither to sky above nor sea below
and from all accounts was burst forth from
scorpius some thirty-three light years ago

though my days on earth have been counted
on one thousand and one hands
it is a far cry to say this was ever my home
for the glory of goodness lives not here
but rather in a place and time that knows no end



november two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hiding behind marshmallow clouds


descending into madness at midnight
I pull pieces of bread from my pockets
feeding them to my soul

in the morning I take tylenol
and pour raw milk onto a
bowl of rice krispies
listening to vague childhood memories

in the middle of the afternoon the full
moon hides behind marshmallow clouds
my conscience reminding me
(as I fall into a self-induced slumber)
how everything becomes edible in the end



november two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as if I had been there


a thin vapor trail
slipped in through the front door
but nobody was home

if I had been there
I would have noticed something
was quite different
but I was gone on a
journey of a lifetime

the place had not changed
all these years
everything perfectly in place
as if nobody had really
lived there

while my mind wandered
away from worldly ideals
seeking out transcendental gurus
residing on new moons
my spirit remained behind
waiting patiently
to be seen


april two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

flash powder


what have I contributed
to the cause
keeping the music alive and
guarding elephants
from poachers

I’ve given up aerosol sprays
and gasoline
marlboro lights
store-bought soup
and religion

how much more do I have to give

that constant humming in my ear
is that just a warning from
my guardian angel
or simply a reminder
how those widely admired
can easily be swept away
like a night owl’s prey
silently screaming

absolution doesn’t exist
in the blink of an eye
and even if it did
no act of contrition could
prevent anyone from
seeing the light


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

long live the encore


there is death in the desert
and death in the sea

there is death in the streets of paris
and on the avenue of the saints

in the halls of washington the president
designs death in new ways
and those around him applaud
and he smiles

in the meantime he decries death in the theater
and death in the schools

and his people will pretend they don’t know
what is causing all the death

they are too busy with their own superficial lives
to question why army drones are supplying weapons
to enemy camps and into the
hands of every enemy of every nation

they are numb to the concept of violent death
because it is simply ingrained into their psyche
and they spoon-feed it to their children
in the form of horrific death on television screens
on movie screens and computer screens
on the tiniest of handheld screens

the idea of mass death does not faze them
and when a day goes by without it
they think something must be wrong

and when dreamers talk of peace they laugh
because they know peace is unnatural
and takes too much effort to pull off

and so death simply goes on

long after the final curtain call


november two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

an endless recollection


repetition of living has taken its toll
on my susceptible shell
altering its physicalities
while heightening my emotions

determined to keep my thoughts
in proper order
I focus on an energy
that is bound to send me skyward

nothing can take away the color
of those changing leaves
or the rippling of streaming water
polishing age-old rocks
nothing can erase the rising
of an off-white moon
or the setting of a kaleidoscope sun
nothing will remove the sounds of laughter
on a summer afternoon
or the sadness trapped inside
melancholy sighs

stepping forward and upward
effortlessly
I shed the weight of the world
and all that it entails
sailing away while looking back
at an endless recollection


october two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

let the weekend begin


everyone I know is getting older
and some are even dying without
a moment’s notice
never getting a chance to say
good-bye
good-bye
good-bye sweet world

in the grocery store I ran into Joe
and asked him how his wife was doing

she’s gone man where have you been

I’m sorry I say and walk away

out in the parking lot everyone is
a ghost of their former selves
systematically going about their lives
running out of bright ideas
to reverse the inevitable

but not me I am perfectly fine
no wrinkles on my face
a rosy glow still on my cheeks

I tell myself this is the last time
I’m going shopping here
and I rev up the engine and
drive my case of american pale ale
back home where we belong



august two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Isadore


her lover took her by the hand
leading her to places
she’s never seen before
sounds from the inside inaudible
feet kicking as they scale uphill

there are higher places to climb
than here he tells her
pointing to a pale moon in the blue sky

day surrendered to the stars
her lover reminding her of that night
when nightingales sang lullabies
and wildflowers covered their eyes

there are higher places to climb
than here he tells her
embracing the beauty of their heartbeats

morning arrived and she boarded
the hot air balloon
sailed away weeping and waving
her lover cradling a silent child
promising her all the world
would one day know her name



may two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


Author’s Note:
This poem is loosely based on the
song of the same name by Incubus
Click here for youtube video with lyrics

made in the shade


these fears inside I lay to rest
as setting sun bows and
curtsies one final time

I’m off to chase grander stars
hosting brighter moons
orbiting other oceans
sent on my merry way
accidentally
a victim so it seems
partially of my own accord

there are no sad marches
no guns to be fired
no motorcycle escorts
no victory day parades

there are no flowers or polaroids
or guestbooks or folded flags
no children sniffling
or women weeping

from now on the future
is my present
and whatever good I left behind
would one day become
a necessary ingredient
to grow the shadiest of trees


january two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

picnic in the park overlooking the cemetery


it just sucks
all this is going on and one day
nothing matters
none of it matters
and you’re gone
and there’s nothing more

who’s to say there’s nothing more
she says
sitting back in her director’s chair
legs crossed and freshly shaved

don’t go there he says
don’t you dare go there

maybe death is a good thing she says
maybe it’s the start of something new
and hopelessly beautiful
just like this glass of champagne

maybe we shouldn’t be buying champagne
he says
maybe we should be buying real estate

yes she says
a change of scenery would do you wonders


january two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where the trees had fallen


taking trails less traveled
led me to where the
trees had fallen
where horses long ago
abandoned the woods

falling to my knees I
listened ‘neath the silence
felt inner earth’s heartbeat
inside my very bones
faintly alive and hurting

lost generations remain
charred in this place
recycled into ghostly ashes
reshaped into
ever-changing apparitions

silence ensued and robbed
me of all my thoughts
leading me to believe
the only way out was
through my imagination


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

nine of spades


he shuffled the deck as quickly
as he talked
telling stories about kings and queens
and barbers in the castle
something about the three jacks
hanging out at the fire station
playing checkers with their pals

pick a card he said
proceeding to ramble on about the
price of milk and gasoline and
disposable razors

did you look at your card he asked

yeah I looked at my card I said

keeping the card face down I
slid it back into the deck
certain he didn’t see it

he shuffled the cards and shuffled
them again and continued to
shuffle the shit out of them
as he went on and on
babbling about how man never
really landed on the moon
how fairy tales used to scare him straight
and how the pope was really lucifer
having the time of his life

he splayed the deck across the table
and I could see my card but it was mostly
covered by the king of hearts

when I looked up he had stopped talking
and was just staring at me
expressionless

what’s wrong I asked him

nothing’s wrong with me he said
but I’d like to know how long
you’re planning on hiding your
misfortune behind the suicide king


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in this land of make-believe


these dreams go beyond make-believe
and into spaces without stars
where coldness goes unnoticed
and past lives become memoirs

as I lie asleep out at sea
you seem to disappear along the shore
consumed by ultraviolet rays
disguised as gently rolling waves

cradle rocking from side to side
foreign voices tell me not to cry
assuring me things will be all right
once understanding how it ends


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

pushing and pulling


it’s so dark I can’t even see my fingers
so cold cannot feel my heart

machines hum along in the white room
giving me fresh air and influencing my dreams

what nobody knows
       is when I’ll be home
or when I’ll be able to say
       I remember everything

(due to atmospheric disturbances
summer never arrived)

crawling through the rubble
my fingertips make rocks sound like glass
rubbing against themselves like butterfly wings

scratching below the surface
I give inspiration to newly awakened lives


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where oh where can she be


she’s in a better place now
he mumbled to himself
retying his wingtips on the bathroom stool
dabbing his finger with his tongue
and erasing old smudge marks

she never felt comfortable
walking in her own shoes
choosing instead to be someone else
like a promising young star
searching for that perfect role

he walked back into the parlor
and mingled among the living
wondering where in the macrocosm
her consciousness had landed
now that her body lay in state


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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